wythall radio club

having fun with RF

Archive for April, 2021

Low power fun in Easter Contest

April 28, 2021 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Contest, Fun, News

“How low can you go?” was a theme of Wythall Radio Club’s Easter Contest 2021.

Chris G7DDN made his 37 contacts with other Club members using his trusty FT817 running 5 watts into a 2m/70cm collinear, and achieved 3rd place in the VHF/UHF category.

Not to be outdone, Allen M0PPX made a 0.3 watt QSO with Kev 2E0NCO whilst en route to the Lickey Hills using his new Yaesu FT3D.

Meanwhile, Lee G0MTN connected his Kenwood handheld to his EME antennas (normally used for moon-bounce contacts), wound the power down to 50 milliwatts, and also made a contact with Kev 2E0NCO!

On the space theme, Chris G3YHF send a greetings message via the International Space Station digipeater – 00:00:01:40 : G3YHF]CQ,NA1SS*,qAR,CT1EBQ3::NWS :Happy contest Wythall RC g3yhf via ISS 

This didn’t count for the contest, which requires QSOs with any of the Club’s 80 or so members, but is in the spirit of our motto – ‘Having fun with RF!’.

John 2E0XET also tried some novel QSOs.  Normally found on CW and often using QRP, he was tempted to have an HF SSB QSO and also try out his new Baufeng handheld on 2m to have his first contact with Kev 2E0NCO!

First place in the 2m/70cm section was Kev, 2E0NCO. 

Although a big signal from home, he also spent several afternoons on the Lickey Hills and managed a contact with Rob 2W0MEX in South Wales – one of several members spread across the UK and abroad.  This was no mean feat on 2m FM!

Kev wins the Colin Baker G6ZDQ Shield.

Miles 2E0YZW was a close second and Tim M6OTN and Clive M7OCB tied for the highest placed foundation licencee in this category.

In the ‘all modes and bands’ category, David G7IBO amassed a huge lead over second and third placed Chris G3YHF and Lee G0MTN.  He made 71 contacts over the 5 days of the contest and worked 28 members for a score of 1344, more than double the second place score!  He wins the David Dawkes G0ICJ Shield.

Juliet M6RSC was the highest placed Foundation licencee in this category.

With May approaching, Club members now turn their attention to their annual More Appreciation Month and the Lew Williams Shield.






Remembering Prince Phillip ‘on the air’

April 14, 2021 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Warwick G4WMH offers his reminiscences following the RSGB President’s comments on the passing of its Patron HRH, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, particularly with reference to his support for the Society’s 75th Anniversary Convention in 1988.

GB75AC was a Super Station to celebrate the RSGB’s 75th Anniversary Convention.  We operated for 10 days from a temporary “cottage” located next to Pendigo Lake in front of the NEC. 

The station was supported by all of the major importers and many UK manufacturers with peripherels and amplifiers etc.  We also had Icom, Kenwood and Yaesu rooms.

The station had the capability of “all HF bands plus 2m & 70cm” and many mode operation for 24 hours a day.  There was a very impressive antenna farm with 100′, 80′ and 60 ‘ towers and lots of wires. 

We waved some 2m & 70cm satellite antennas, but lacked the manpower to make any satellite contacts.

The camera shot was not wide enough to pick up all the antennas, some of which were quite a distance from the station including the verticals and wires.  

The signal flags in the outside shot spell out GB75AC – they were full size navy flags – very heavy with lots of windage so we did not fly them high.

We were inundated with visitors, including foreign royalty, government representatives, presidents and officials from many overseas societies, some celebrities and at least one astronaut, not to mention many DXers from around the world, many of whom wanted to operate the station. 

This was a time when RSGB Conventions were huge.  In those days we knew the NEC well and amateur radio operation was common from a wide variety of public and trade shows.

There was great teamwork.  Working closely with the RSGB, the station and the Prince’s broadcast was pulled together by an enthusiastic team from midlands clubs – Bromsgrove, Midland, Solihull, South Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Wythall and others. 

Guest operators from around the country signed-up to join the team, bringing amateur and professional expertise and borrowed kit to the station. 

One thing was definitely missing – there was no computer logging in those days.  Despite valiant efforts from team members we never got a stable network (or data).  However, conditions were pretty good at the time and we really did work the world!

A great challenge was the planned live broadcast of the Patron’s speech which we actually achieved on time – simultaneous transmission which we broadcast to the world on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 2 and 70cm.  What a pile up of call-ins once it was finished! 

To make the broadcast we required a high qualty cable link from the centre of the NEC, running through underground passages and under road culverts to get from the exhibition to the station.  And we had to get the very expensive cable undamaged back to the contractor who loaned it, ready for their professional installation just a few days later!

The next challenge (soon after the broadcast) was to exchange grettings messages between the Duke and Windsor Castle.  We had media pressure for this to be an exchange between His and Her Royal Majesties.  It seemed like a good idea at the time!!

We considered all sorts of options, including some fancy encryption technology, which was great fun to play with but even the professionals could not guarantee that it would work on the day.  We considered that it would be a nice thing to do but we only needed a nutter or two to ruin everything! 

The solution was two fold: 1. The Duke would pass greetings with a representative of the Society who would be located at Windsor Castle and who would return the greetings and thanks for his patronage. 

We were still concerned about unwanted interuptions and hit upon solution 2: We would not use an amateur band – we selected an “obscure” military frequency.

The Duke was standing in front of the then latest Yaesu showing a 40m frequency, whilst the microphone was actually connected to my trusty FT902DM in another room, with a separate antenna on the roof and controlled by me using a hand PTT and prompting the overs. 

It all went very smoothly with a nod of approval from the Duke!

Winter DX Challenge Results

April 01, 2021 By: Chris G3YHF Category: Club, Fun, News

Andorra, Albania and the Azores were amongst the countries contacted by Wythall Radio Club members in their Winter DX Challenge. 

The aim was to have two-way contacts with other radio amateurs in as many different countries as possible on the  40 and 160 meter short wave bands.  This Challenge ran through February and March.

With his Foundation licence, Tim M6OTN showed what could be done on 40m, working 90 different countries.  All this with low power and a vertical antenna (photo).

On Top Band (160m), Lee G0MTN worked 85 countries – great going with a mix of digital and CW modes. 

Club members had lots of fun talking to people in other parts of the world.  They used digital, voice and Morse Code transmisions at all times of the day and night.

Here’s a list of countries we contacted.